National Heatwave Update: Severe to extreme heatwaves this weekend and beyond

The first major heat wave of the season is here, and it ends with a hissing end to what will be the country’s hottest November on record.

Severe to extreme heat waves are expected in much of southeastern and eastern Australia in the coming days as the heat sweeps through the country.

Jonathan How, senior forecaster with the Bureau of Meteorology, said heat waves are normal at this time of year.

“But the temperatures and duration of what we’re going to see is exceptional,” he said.

It’s important for people to plan ahead, check in with local health advice, and take care of their pets, local wildlife, and vulnerable people.


Here’s a summary of how the heat is expected to affect states and territories.

South Australia

After a blazing day yesterday, South Australian temperatures are expected to remain high on Saturday at 47 degrees Celsius at Maree and 46C at Renmark and Port Augusta.

Adelaide is expected to reach 38C today.

Table of ratings of SA's fire station for Sat-Tue.  Flinders and Mid North extreme Saturday.
Fire hazards have increased again today before a cool change is expected to cool things down tomorrow.(Supplied: Bureau of Meteorology)

All this heat is expected to increase fire risk across the country and extreme fire hazards are once again predicted today.

Fortunately, a nice change is expected this afternoon, said Mr How.


Meanwhile across the border it is hot in north Victoria, but according to Mr How Melbourne and south Victoria will be protected by a southern breeze.

“Even though it will be baking hot, up to 45 degrees along the Murray, it will be fairly cool for southern Victoria,” he said.

Melbourne is only expected to reach 28C on Saturday and temperatures are expected to be much more pleasant south of the mountain ranges.

New South Wales and the ACT

South Victoria may be missing, but that happiness is not there in New South Wales.

The heat extends all the way to the coast with a forecast of 45C in Hay and Deniliquin on Saturday and 40C days forecast for Western Sydney.

Sunday is expected to be the peak heat day for eastern New South Wales, with even Sydney City expected to hit 39C.

“Serious fire hazards to the Sydney Underground, and severe fire hazards along the New South Wales coast with very high winds awaiting a change on Sunday,” said Mr. How.

The change is expected to come in the form of a gusty southern buster bringing potentially damaging winds, thunderstorms, and a rapid temperature drop.

“We’re talking about 10 to 20 degrees in an hour. It can also cause some thunder in the form of dry lightning.

“So the risk of re-ignition on Sunday is there.”

Stay alert and watch for emergency alerts near you.


Canberra is expected to miss the worst peak heat this time around with maximums of 33C and 28C on Saturday and Sunday.


In northern New South Wales and southeastern Queensland, there’s no cool change in sight until Thursday. Yes, Thursday.

On Thursday, the onshore currents are expected to cool things down around the coast, but it will push the heat back to the center and inland.

The heat is expected to linger in western Queensland until next weekend.

Whether the heat then returns or not the following week depends on whether the rain finally starts to fall north.

Northern Territory and the Tropics

To stop the heat from cycling through the country, we really need the tropical rains.

“It’s a race between that and the increase in monsoon activity to see which one wins.”

Despite there being a strong La Niña in the Pacific, the rains have been delayed in recent weeks due to short-term climate factors getting in the way.


But with the Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) expected to pass in early to mid-December, that deluge may begin soon.

Western Australia

While the East is sweating it, it looks like a relatively mild weekend in the Southwest.

A high-pressure ridge is expected to form over southern Western Australia today, before a surface trough forms on Sunday, ahead of the next cold front, which is expected to graze in the southwest on Monday.

Perth is expected to have two wonderful days of 25 ° C with no rain, partly cloudy on Sunday.

map of aus red over the interior of NSW and patches of WA indicating above normal fire potential from December to February 2020
The risk of grass fires is the main concern this season.(Supplied: Forest fires and natural hazards CRC)


I know you hate to be left out there, but in this particular case it’s a really good thing.

Showers are predicted on the weekend with lows and lows going through it.

Monday is expected to clear up slightly, but Tuesday will likely bring some wet weather as the next front clears its way.

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